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Uncovering The Subtle Roles Of Society

850 words - 4 pages

A notable image that readers of the twentieth-century literature easily recognize is a bell jar. A bell jar is an unbreakable, stiff glass container that confines objects within its unescapable walls. It metaphorically represents the suffocating and airless enclosure of conformism prevalent during the 1950’s American society. More specifically, American societal standards approve men to have the dominant role as they are encouraged to attend college in order to pursue professional careers. They are given the responsibility of financially supporting their families. In contrast, the social conventions and expectations of women during the 1950’s displayed in The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath ...view middle of the document...

She feels that the only duty given to them is marriage because they have such a limited amount of professions directed towards them. In addition, Esther wants to become a writer but she is restricted by society in accomplishing a professional career because she is only allowed to become a secretary or an executive. As a result, Esther is forced to suppress her dreams and desires hence impairing her state of mind. Esther clearly implies, “I [feel] still and very empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo”(6). Women at the time of the 1950’s are tailored to be chaste and docile in order to get married but Esther finds difficulty in being accordant to these societal standards. Secondly, in marriage women are constraint in fulfilling the lifestyle of a wife which includes tolerating male dominance. Similarly, Esther’s mother, Mrs. Greenwood, continuously argues, “that nobody [wants] a plain English major. But an English major who knew shorthand has something else again” (78). Moreover, shorthand is a skill thought to women of the 1950’s time period to make it simple for them to take dictation from men. Esther depicts shorthand as a form of male oppression because it illustrates how women have to follow the man’s orders and be subservient to them. Her mental health is at jeopardy because she is trapped in the male dominated society who is restricting her way of living by not allowing her to follow her aspirations. Therefore,...

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